India Alcohol

India Alcohol Demand and Consumption Patterns


Alcohol consumption in India has a long history dating back to ancient times. However, over the past few decades, India has seen significant rises in alcohol demand and consumption levels.

Rising Incomes fuel Growth in Demand

One of the primary drivers of increased alcohol demand has been robust economic growth and rising incomes in India over the past 20 years. As personal disposable incomes have increased, consumers have more spending power to purchase alcohol products. Market research shows clear correlations between higher income demographic groups and increased spending on alcoholic beverages. The growing middle and affluent classes have helped fuel double-digit annual growth rates in the alcohol industry. Several states have deregulated alcohol pricing in recent years and opened up retail spaces, helping companies boost sales and further tap into this rising demand pool.

Changes in Socio-cultural Norms

While alcohol consumption has long been a part of Indian culture and tradition, socio-cultural shifts are also changing consumption patterns. Younger generations are adopting more Westernized lifestyles and becoming comfortable socializing over drinks. Women’s participation in the workforce has increased their disposable incomes and social mobility. This has led to more open acceptance of women drinking in public spaces like bars and restaurants compared to a few decades ago. Further, the rapid urbanization of Indian society has diluted some traditional village-level controls over alcohol access and norms. All these cultural changes are enabling greater participation in and normalization of alcohol use across wider demographics.

Emergence of New Segments

To capitalize on the evolving opportunities, alcohol producers are innovating their brand portfolios, product offerings, and marketing strategies. Several new wine and spirit brands targeting young urban audiences have emerged. Premium and super-premium products priced above Rs. 1000 are growing fast as status symbols. Ready-to-drink bottled cocktails are popular among young working professionals and single-serve pouches are expanding the on-the-go options. The craft beer segment is witnessing rapid growth with niche regional and artisanal varieties. Across India, cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and others are seeing burgeoning craft brewing scenes. On the flip side, some states like Bihar continue prohibition which limits availability.

Regional Variations in Preferences

Given India’s cultural diversity, alcohol preferences vary greatly by region according to local traditions and cuisines. In Southern India, whiskey and brandy are more prevalent, whereas beer is a preferred option in the East and Northeast. Northern states consume larger proportions of country liquor like daru and tharra. Western India has a long tradition of drinking fenny made from local palm trees. Festivities and ceremonies across regions incorporate indigenous alcoholic beverages like jaanr in Rajasthan, aroja in West Bengal, and feni in Goa. While some premium brands have national footprints, it remains important for companies to tailor their local offerings to regional tastes. Governments also determine production and distribution policies state-wise adding to variance.

Health and Social Consequences

However, increased India Alcohol availability and changes in social norms also bring with them serious public health, safety and social consequences. Heavy episodic drinking is rising among younger demographics and more outdoor socializing over drinks normalizes excessive consumption. Accidental deaths and crime rates in some locations spike during long weekends and festivals. Growing alcoholism and substance abuse problems put psychological and financial burdens on families and communities. Liver diseases and other alcohol-related medical issues exert pressure on India’s healthcare system as well. Going forward, concerned governing bodies and public health experts are working to educate citizens and implement moderate alcohol policies focused on responsible consumption.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it